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Every two years we have the opportunity to be inspired by stories of passion, perseverance and dreams of Olympic gold-and this year in Sochi is no different. The media tries to help spin those stories, but sometimes they get it wrong. Every athlete has a unique story to tell, but all seem to share a passion and perseverance for what sometimes seems to be a dream of achieving the impossible-an Olympic medal.  Yet to us mortals, they have already achieved the impossible-earning a spot on an Olympic team, representing their country in the Olympic Games.

What sets those athletes apart from us? How are they able to achieve their goals? This week I learned about the importance of focusing on a singular goal, rather than trying to accomplish a laundry list of goals at once.

It is important to note that when 2014 started, my goals were all over the place:

  • I wanted to run 14 races in 2014;
  • I wanted to get faster and stronger
  • I wanted to lose 4 lbs

“Faster at what? And stronger at what?” My trainer asked.  I had no idea. After some prodding and thinking, I decided I really want to be able to run an 8 minute mile-just 1 to start, and to improve my half marathon time and to be able to run a sub 2 hour half marathon. Once I decided what my goal was, my training and singular focus began.

Sound easy? Not so easy. What I failed to understand is that it really is impossible to build muscle, get faster, and lose weight all at the same time. After 7 weeks, I began doubting my training and my goal. Here was the first lesson: PERSEVERANCE. As I watched Meryl Davis and Charlie White perform their Ice Dance free skate-the culmination of 16 years of skating, practicing, working toward their goal-I wondered if I could stick to my goal for 11 months.

“What is your goal? If your goal is to lose weight, you will not be able to run a half marathon and feel strong. If your goal is to lift heavier weights, the first thing I am going to tell you is to gain weight. What is your goal?” (GOAL: SINGULAR)

THAT was an eye opener. Your training depends on your goal. Of course!

But there is something else to consider;  when you focus on one goal, you will likely regress or diminish your capacity to improve in areas of fitness that are not somehow necessary in the accomplishment of your goal. That is what happens when you are truly focused on a singular goal.

Here are some helpful tips on staying focused on a singular goal:

1. Reaffirm your goal(s) on a regular basis to help stay focused: is this what I really want to be doing? Do I still have the passion?

2. Stick to your goal; if you are training for a specific goal, you will need to stick with it long enough to see results, and this could take months. In the case of Olympians, it takes years. Can you persevere?

3. Focus on one goal at a time-really focus. It may seem impossible, but that is what sets Olympians apart from the rest of us. Focus on a singular goal.

I started wondering about this principal in the classroom. Although as educators we must help students acomplish their unique goals, is it possible or practical to focus only on one goal at a time? Are we trying to focus on improvement in too many things? With a little more thought and creativity is it possible to choose goals that will improve the ability to learn rather than improve a specific skill set or task?

I would love to know your thoughts.

 

 

under: Life
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On Staying Outside of the Box

Posted by: | February 3, 2014 | No Comment |

When I ordered my iPod a couple years ago I had it inscribed with the words “Think Outside the Box” to remind myself to stay open to new ideas, to wonder, to ask questions and to be creative in problem solving and seeking solutions. These attributes are fundamental to who I am. It is easy to get sucked into the vaccuum of day to day tasks that can easily leave no time for creative thinking, until eventually, you find yourself inside THE BOX.

It can be exhausting fighting against the constant suck of the vacuum. Think about that- the noise, the pull, the relentless, single minded, back and forth motion with the only goal being to get rid of what is lying on the floor. We can become so busy and tired in our every day lives our only goal is to get rid of what is on the floor- or in my case- on my plate- before it begins to pile up again the next day.

I have done a great job working to make myself physically stronger by scheduling time to physically work out, by eating healthier, and by setting goals. As I move into 2014 feeling physically fit but emotionally drained, I realize I must also set mental goals as well-to get back to a place filled with wonder, curiosity, and creativity.

My new mental goals include scheduling creative thinking time each week to collaborate, take risks, and play with new ideas, new adventures, and possibilities. I am going to encourage my teammates to do the same. Much like Google’s 20%  time-which no longer exists- and FedEx Day although not to those extremes, I am going to schedule 4 hours into my week to think, plan, explore, ask questions, collaborate, seek answers, write, and increase my creativity at work.

I am going to strengthen my mental capacity to avoid being sucked by the daily vacuum into THE BOX. You heard it here first.

i_hate_vacuum_cleaners_by_thecrimsonemo-d1wgast

 

 

under: Learning, Life
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On Slowing Down and Learning

Posted by: | January 8, 2014 | No Comment |

Road Signs

I have been pondering this post for a couple weeks as I look toward my goals for 2014. I am a firm believer in “signs.” If I stopped long enough to reflect on my actions and consequences, I would recognize the signs I have been rushing by the last couple months. It is always a sign when I misplace things and/or lock my keys in my vehicle. I need to slow down. I managed to lock my keys in my vehicle twice in less than a month, and could not find the spare key(s) for several days. I did not take the time to pay attention to where I was stashing my things, and not being mindful about removing the key from the ignition and my coat pocket when I decided to lock and slam the door shut. This inconvenienced me and the people who needed to help me retrieve the spare key.

Another sign I managed to miss is  over scheduling myself so that I missed appointments or forgot about them altogether, because at the time I booked myself, I did not pause long enough to look at my crazy calendar and think about the consequences of cramming one more thing in. Inevitably, someone is sure to be disappointed and inconvenienced. And it usually means re-scheduling, which takes even more precious time away from my tight schedule.

Losing things, forgetting things, missing appointments, and let’s add missed deadlines to the list. I am a rule follower, and if I have deadline to meet, I will do whatever it takes to meet it. However, working nights, holidays and weekends  and not taking a full and complete vacation away from work in order to meet deadlines and responsibilities is unnecessary and inefficient. 2014 will be all about slowing down to improve productivity and efficiency, both at work and in life.

Goals for 2014

My personal trainer asked me what my race goals were for 2014. Since I have only been running for a year, we talked about this and I am still a newbie. “I want to get stronger and faster,” is my reply. I have no idea how fast-I just know there is plenty of room for improvement. “I would like to run  a half marathon in the spring.”

“Then we will need to get serious with a running plan,” he told me. “Does that mean I have to run slowly?” I asked.

“Yes, the slower the better.”

I don’ t understand.

We often talk about the science of fitness during our workout sessions, and the one lesson that has taken me the longest to learn is slowing down. This is especially important in the early stages of skill development and learning-in any context. Proceed slowly-with caution. Your brain needs time to learn new movement patterns, time to process new language, time to learn . With every new weight lifting sequence, there is a learning curve and patience is required. Slowing down requires patience-a quality I am still working on acquiring.  I get that. With exercise patterns and weight lifting I can see the immediate results and experience the consequences of rushing a lift or a movement.

Reading to Understand

So I turned to some of my favorite Runner’s World articles and started reading, and trying to understand. I had to read slowly and carefully; I had to read closely.   I had to read to learn the importance of running at a slow pace. Running at a comfortable, slow pace allows your body to build aerobic capacity, which leads to being able to run longer, further and faster. But it takes time. This is not a process that happens over the course of one, two or even ten long, slow runs, but over months and years. It involves things like growing capillaries which lead to increased blood flow which leads to more oxygen being delivered to your muscles. Running slowly at a lower intensity also trains your body to burn fat as fuel, thus providing more fuel for your muscles to burn.

Ironically, my running goal to run faster will help me achieve my goal to slow down. I will embrace being slow. Faster may be better in the moment, but for long term results and learning to occur, the tortoise is the winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

under: Learning, Life
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The other day my husband asked me what my goals were for 2014. The question came out of nowhere, but it got me thinking. At work it is that time of year to reflect on goals and learning, and following my first year of running and racing, I have been thinking about personal fitness goals as well. It is easy to forget to look back to see where you were 1 year, 2 years , 5 years or more ago;but it is important to take time to reflect on both achievements and mistakes. If we don’t take time to take stock, then we really risk just forging ahead with no real purpose or direction in life. So here are some of my reflections on 2013, in no particular order:

1. PR- A year ago I did not even know what a PR was. I had just started running, jog/walking, really, on a treadmill mostly. In the last year I have achieved PR’s in the 5K, 6K, 8K, 10K , 10 mi, 12 mi and Half Marathon; I ran in 24 road races, I broke a 9 min mi pace for a 5K, and I ran 2 half marathons in 8 days. I learned from every run , from every race; ironically, the most important thing I learned:PATIENCE.

2. Hard wood floors and a king size bed- it might not seem like a big deal, but again, a lot of research went into the hard wood floor thing and I learned a lot about why I could not have the wide boards I really wanted, unless I wanted very short boards which would not look that great in my living room. The long boards (tall trees) are being used to make furniture- which is why the king size bed is here. Two items on my long list can now be crossed off; thanks to my father in law for visiting and needing his own room with a big bed so that my husband felt pressure to purchase another bed. What I learned: PERSISTENCE and PERSEVERANCE.

3. Online teaching- Teaching on-line is very different from face to face teaching. The preparation to teach the course is as demanding as facilitating the course. The platform matters. Through much preparation, trial and error, through standards, rubrics and discussion forums, both were successful, but one was much easier to facilitate because of the platform. For those of you wondering, the easier course to facilitate was delivered through Moodle, the more difficult course was delivered through a combination of Sakai, Google Sites and Google Groups. What I learned: NIMBLENESS.

4. Adding weight to subtract weight- About 9 months ago I told my personal trainer I wanted to lose 5 pounds. Along with running, I began using more weight training at the gym and began paying attention to what I ate. The My Fitness Pal and Runkeeper Apps really helped me stay focused on my nutrition, which I learned, matters if you want to not only lose weight, but change body composition. A calorie is not a calorie, and the fuel you put into your body is used differently running a 5k than when you run a half marathon. Last week I dead lifted 185 lbs. But that was just a small percentage of the tons of weight I have lifted in the last year. I lost over 30 pounds, but my goals was not focused on losing weight, it was focused on getting stronger. What I learned: CONFIDENCE.

5. Social is a verb. I have been using Twitter for 5 years, and have made some amazing connections and have built my personal learning network so that increasingly my on-line life blends seamlessly with my face to face life. Six degrees of separation are more like one degree. Networking connects us to experts, colleagues, friends and interests to communicate, collaborate and share both personally and professionally. My on-line social reach has expanded to include my professional life as well, and for that I am grateful.  My core beliefs and values are still about personal connections. What I learned: CONNECTIONS ARE STILL IMPORTANT.

6. Let it go. Anyone who knows me knows this is hard for me. From personality conflicts, to a bad race, a bad day, a failed recipe, my friends and family have had to tell me more than once to, “Let it go.” My biggest disappointment, but also my biggest lesson learned was my Seacoast Half Marathon race. I didn’t ever really want to run a half marathon; I could not see the point of running 13.1 miles. Who would ever need to run that far? Who would want to? I decided to run it after I ran my worst race ever-a 10K that felt like a hundred miles. It was the only race I ever thought seriously about quitting with a mile left to go. I realized I had experienced the worst that could ever happen, and I survived. So I decided to register for the Seacoast Half Marathon. I told my trainer and we began training seriously, and stuck to the plan for 11 weeks. That is when I decided to run a “practice” half marathon the week before my goal race. “Can I run it?” I asked my trainer, “It’s not a good idea,” During the week he changed his mind, “You can run it if you want.” And so I did, and it was fine! The last two miles were rough, but I was okay with my results. The next 6 days, I continued to run and ran 12 more miles leading up to my goal race day.

“Start out slow for the first 2 miles, even though it is downhill.”(Really? I had self -doubt-not good.) The first four miles felt good, but after the first 2 miles at an 11 min pace, I found myself trying to play catch-up. At mile 6 I walked for a little bit, and then came around the corner heading out toward Great Island Common, feeling okay-not great, but okay. And then somewhere around mile 8 I stopped for water and it went down my wind pipe. I thought I was going to die. I had to stop and cough and try to get my lungs working again, until finally, I was able to run again. When I got to mile 11 and saw my time I gave up. Not literally, but in my head. The last 2 miles were slow, painful, and demoralizing. When I crossed the finish line I was not happy, and I snapped at my friend, my hsband and my daughter-not cool. I then proceeded to beat myself up for a week and a half over it. My time was not terrible- 2:24 ish or something like that. It was an 11:00 min pace, which is what I started out at, which was what my 5K pace was a year ago. I had to work through it and hear my husband and my trainer  tell me to, “Let it go.” It was hard to let it go. But eventually I did. I only bring it up now as I look toward 2014 to try to learn from my mistakes-and there were plenty.

Letting it go is a big lesson for me-the biggest lesson probably. You cannot change the past, and you cannot do anything about what hasn’t happened yet. It sounds so simple, but it is true. You can only control the moment you are in. What I learned: ACCEPTANCE

So as I look toward my goals for 2014, whether work related, related to family and friends, or personal, I should probably keep these six words posted somewhere as a visible reminder that in order to learn and grow, connections are still important, learning takes time, and mistakes will be made -accept, learn,and let it go.

under: Learning
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Once is Never Enough

Posted by: | December 19, 2013 | No Comment |

Lately I have been thinking about how my outside -of -work life intersects with my working life, and increasingly I am able to draw more and more parallels between the two. Perhaps it is because my job is relatively new to me, and I have, in the same time span, taken up personal training with weights, in addition to running. So I have a huge learning curve both at work and at the gym.

A couple weeks ago I had the most awesome time hosting a webinar with author , educator and researcher, Ellin Oliver Keene (Talk About Understanding, Heinemann, 2012.) In this webinar session we were having a conversation about the importance of modeling dialogue and discourse with students, over, and over and over again. She explained that too often in the classroom because teachers feel pressure to move on, students do not get the opportunity to see, hear and learn the same message, over and over again. Rarely do students successfully transfer a skill they have learned after only seeing and hearing it once.

Later that week in the gym, working with my personal trainer, he explained he was going to show me a new exercise. He was honest when he said, “and you will probably not do it correctly this time, but after practicing, you will begin to do the exercise with more and more accuracy.” I thought about the new exercises I had learned in the last two years, and how often he would explain to me, then show me, then have me try. And even when I had successfully demonstrated the proper technique and form, he did not assume I had mastered the exercise.

We are constantly striving for mastery, using explanation, demonstration or modeling, and practice. Even once we move on to something else, the new exercise becomes part of the routine to be practiced, so that the skills learned can be applied to a still newer exercise and routine later on.

“You are a really good teacher,” I told him the other day,” you continually find ways to show the proper technique while  connecting the new skill to what I already know.”

And so it is with teaching any new skill. It is not enough to tell or show once, and expect learning and tansfer of knowledge to occur. It takes modeling and practice, over and over again to get it right.

under: Learning
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Connected Educators

Posted by: | December 13, 2013 | No Comment |

Having dinner with my former middle school teaching colleagues/friends last night reminded me how much fun I used to have thinking about, talking about,  planning for and discussing curriculum and student needs. As we sat around the table engaged in talk about math, social studies and science (I was the ELA teacher) and the differing philosophies and teaching styles they are now surrounded by, I remembered why I decided to go back to school for an advanced degree to become certified as an administrator. My colleagues, although a handful of years from retirement, continue to be curious and passionate learners of learning. They are invested in their students, they seek out ways to provide the very best learning environment for all students, despite the shifting poilitcal climate over the years. What they are missing is a professional learning community that goes beyond their classroom walls. They love their students, they are passionate about their curriculum, but they feel like they are out there fighting windmills.

The question for this week’s Twitter #edchat discussion was: “What does it mean to be a connected educator?”

I tweeted about the need to make face to face connections as well as online connections-but here is a case where the face to face connections among colleagues fall flat and are not reinforcing collaboration, problem solving, and quality discourse. In fact, just the opposite is happening. In face to face interactions, dialogue and debate are discouraged, and the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And although this can happen in online communities, there are also many more opportunities to develop conversations and collaborative relationships because of the vastness of the  global audience and network that exists.

But here is the thing. If each teacher in that physical learning space chooses to teach in isolation within their face to face community, even though they connect to like minded educators online- is this a healthy learning environment?

Is it healthy to connect only with those that look like you, dress like you, and think like you?

For me this raises many, many questions about our society and how we are raising our children.

Are we preparing our children to become members of society who know how to engage in dialogue AND debate in order to collaborate AND compromise.

 

 

under: Edtech, Learning
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What inspires me? -The opportunity to share my stories with others. My children-grown now, with their own children- are the people they are because of who they were allowed to be in those elementary years. Their stories were valued and their teachers respected their expertise as authors. We all have many stories to tell. I feel blessed that my work enables me to continue to be inspired every day by educators, authors, and children.

My Teaching Identity: Reflecting on NCTE:

Becoming a teacher seemed only natural. It was and is, to this day, who I am –it defines me. I am also a learner of learning-curious and passionate about how children and adults learn.

In 1989 when my oldest daughter of 4 was entering third grade I decided to become a teacher. As the elementary school in the town we still live in today became part of Donald Graves’ research into the teaching of reading and writing, I had no idea how ground breaking his work was, and how life altering my decision would be. All I knew was that my children went to school each day and spent a good part of each day writing, reading and sharing their stories with teachers who listened and cared. This, I thought to myself, is important work. And so I began my Masters in Education journey at the University of New Hampshire and learned to tell my stories.

 

After more than fifteen years in public education, and a journey that led me to administration, technology integration and higher education, I have arrived at Heinemann Publishing-where you could say, my teaching journey began.

 

You see my children’s teachers worked with Donald Graves and the UNH Writing Lab. My children’s teachers wrote chapters for Heinemann books written by Heinemann authors on reading, writing and portfolios. My own children were interviewed, participated in and led reading and writing conferences, and evaluated their own work-twenty five years ago.

 

It took me more than five years to get hired as a teacher. I thought everybody taught like this.

 

“You would do better in a more process oriented classroom-we are more traditional.”

 

As I listened to Penny Kittle and Tom Newkirk help tell Don Graves’ story at NCTE last month,  as I listened to Nancie Atwell, Mary Ellen Giacobbe and Lucy Calkins, reflect on their work as young teachers, I thought, so this is why I am here.  My connections ran far and deep: to Jean Robbins who was my brother’s first grade teacher, and who was principal at Atkinson Academy when my mom worked there while we were growing up; to my children’s elementary education at Stratham Memorial School where they wrote their stories-every day and taught other teachers how to confer and evaluate as they worked with Don Graves and Jane Hanson, to Nancie Atwell and Georgia Heard- who presented the only two Heinemann workshops I ever attended as a teacher, but whose work inspired the teacher I became; to Ralph Fletcher who wrote a book that inspires my thinking to this day; (Walking Trees, Heinemann, 1995.)

 

My oldest daughter who is now 32 years old-was a first grader the year after Stratham Memorial School teachers threw out their Basal readers and decided to follow Donald Graves advice to let children write and let them learn to read by reading their own stories. Children do want to write. It is why I became a teacher-to listen and learn from children so that I could help them learn to read and write about the things that mattered most to them.

 

As I listened to Penny and Tom reflect on the importance of Donald Graves’ work-as I listened to teachers share their stories about how his work has influenced them-as I sat at NCTE surrounded by young, new teachers eager to lean in, listen and learn from our authors, I remembered being that young, new teacher that wanted to make a difference in the lives of children and I thought,

 

“This is why I am here.”

 

We do have a legacy to uphold and important work to be done.

under: Learning
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It has been a week since Educon 2.4.I have needed that time to digest and process the time spent with some of the brightest, most optimistic, passionate thinkers I know.

This year, for the first time, I had the opportunity to spend Friday at Science Leadership Academy, to visit classrooms, share moments with students, and to spend time with friends and colleagues. Spending time with the students and student tour guides made me miss teaching; because the best part about teaching for me was getting to know my students, and guiding them to new discoveries and helping them achieve and overcome new challenges.

 I am grateful that  in Session 1 on Saturday with Paul Allison from the NYC Writing Project when I introduced myself and shared where I worked,I got pleasant smiles and a sense that I was not  only welcome, but teachers were grateful I was there to share their stories and passion. I still missed teaching .

But what surprised me yet again was how connected we are and how small the world has become. There are no longer 6 degrees of separation between any two people, more likely it is less  than three degrees of separation between two people. If I met someone new-most likely we shared a common friend, or had some other personal, poignant connection. This is the world our children will inherit. We must take the learning outside the four walls, and help them make those connections-with their friends, their communities, their world.

I am thankful for those that took the time to share with me and chose to spend time with me, because it was important to me. I appreciate your stories, your ideas, and your voice in all things important to you.Instead of trying to be everywhere for everyone, I had the opportunity to spend quality time with friends, really connecting. I felt a little guilty at first, because there were so many people I wanted to spend time with, but a smile and a hello were all that transpired.So to the new educators I met, to the new connections I made, to my dear friends and colleagues who I was fortunate to spend time with, thank you for an inspiring weekend.I have been thinking about the importance of moving slowly-with intention; reading slowly, deeply, and taking the time to truly get to know each other and make connections- as people, as learners, as a global community.

Perhaps that is the magic of Educon; for those of us that want, it provides a space and place in time to forge connections, to think deeply and slowly and passionately, and to know that we are with friends..

 

 

 

 

 

 

under: Edtech, Learning
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Seven years ago I was asked to attend my first National Education Computing Conference (NECC 2004), as a computer using middle school Language Arts teacher, soon to become a Technology Integrator. My friend and colleague the Technology Coordinator recognized my potential-not because I was a techno-whiz, but because I possessed the qualities we now expect 21st century teachers to embody: a passion for learning and problem solving, curiosity, reflectiveness, and empathy. Seven years is a lifetime, but in the big scheme of things, it is a nanosecond. What if we, as educators and leaders, asked someone to attend ISTE2012? It may sound corny, but you never know what potential is waiting just beneath the surface if you don’t ask.

I thought about the enormity of resources I could share, the connections and friends I made, the conversations I had that inspired me and engaged me, as I continue to reflect on the  ISTE11 conference experience. But as I look toward the 2011-2012 school year and the potential that waits to be unlocked, I challenge you to share your favorite apps, websites, lessons, and social networking tools with not only your colleagues, but your friends, relatives and neighbors. It is not just a teacher thing-everyone knows a teacher, and everyone lives in a community with a school. If we keep our learning to ourselves-those that think as we do, then we will never know what potential is waiting beneath the surface. Please be obnoxious about your sharing. You never know where that one little kernel of knowledge will end up.

Some of my favorite ISTE11 take-aways:

SATURDAY-From the Affiliates Meeting : ISTE Affiliates Wiki http://affiliates.iste.wikispaces.net/Affiliates+Home awesome resource for your affiliates and others!

SUNDAY- Site of the first Continental Congress, a printing press and Ben Franklin’s tenement house; ironically enough, our forefathers were 21st century thinkers;-)

via Kathleen McClasky,Ed Tech Associates: Yateslab.com SMART notebook activities for Everyday Math Lessons, Grades 3-5

Science360 App- A beautiful app by the National Science Foundation

MONDAY-

Yoon Soo Lim, Elizabeth Peterson, Michelle Baldwin and Kyle Pace: Music and Tech-Harmony in the Making:  https://sites.google.com/site/musicandtechharmony/

My friends Yoon Soo Lim (@doremigirl) has an amazing voice, Elizabeth Peterson (The Inspired Classroom) has limitless energy and creativity-check out her 4th gr math raps, Michelle Bladwin is an expert at making the connections- and Drum Circles, and Kyle Pace has done amazing things in Lee’s Summit MO-check out his district tech page for all the resources you will ever need! http://its.leesummit.k12.mo.us/

Using Music and Images Ethically in Multimedia Writing  Sandy Hayes, Becker Middle School and NCTE : This was a fantastic session discussing what fair use is and isn’t; check out:

Filmography 2010 Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4dEWOB6THE

http://www.isteconference.org/conferences/ISTE/2011/handout_uploads/KEY_60711720/Hayes_HayesHandoutISTE2011.pdf

TUESDAY

PBL with Mobil Devices Tony Vincent  http://learninginhand.com/pbl/ Awesome to see Tony Vincent live! For cat lovers- there are apps for cats;-)

Favorite iPad Browsers: Perfectbrowser, Atomic Browser, SidebySide and iswifter

Storykit- combine image, drawing, text and voice to create a storybook, or view online as a web page.

I also met Chris Betcher (@betchaboy) and he was kind enough to give me a copy of his paperback book: The Interactive White board revolution, featuring examples of how teachers are revolutionizing teaching with these devices.

WEDNESDAY

Jodie Bower, Putnam City HS, Teacher of the Year finalist in OK @fzzktchr and The Science Classroom Blog, Thanks to Eric Hiielman, @ittosde, for introducing us!

BYO Cell Phone: Collaborative Activities for the Classroom- Powerpoint on ISTE11 Planner Website; I can’t wait to use some of the polling and chat activities with our administrators!

Skyline High School Curriculum and Portfolio Integration Project using Google tools- this was my favorite session takeaway-not so much for its innovative use of Google tools, but for how prepared and engaging the presenters were. They have a clear, easy to follow procedure for introducing Google sites and docs with staff and students; love it!

EXHIBIT HALL

INTEL TEACH Free teacher PD http://www.intel.com/about/corporateresponsibility/education/programs/intelteach_us/program.htm

Renaissance Learning- FREE TRAINING http://www.renlearn.com/training/search/default.aspx?p=2KNOW&t=Classroom+Response&r=Return+to+2Know!

under: Edtech

Last year I attended my first Educon, in person. I was awestruck and filled with “Aha” moments. I bounced from session to session, I met fellow educators face to face with whom I had previously connected online; and I had some wonderful conversations-mostly with my travel companions who I got to know a little better and care about a little bit more. I forged new relationships and strengthened existing ones. I wondered, “How can we replicate this in our own state?”

This year I was looking forward to Educon, but not with the same enthusiasm and excitement as one does when they experience something for the very first time. I am reminded of the television commercial about Disney World in which a little boy is too excited to sleep because he is leaving for Disney in the morning. That was me last year. This year I was a bit more realistic. My plan was to peruse the schedule, support my colleagues by attending their sessions, create new relationships and strengthen existing relationships. I accomplished my goals and then some!

I have been accused, tongue in cheek, for a very long time, of being a “visionary.” My colleagues tell me the education world is not ready for me. But this is me, and this is how I think, for better or for worse. I am the “Why not?” person that refuses to settle.

So here I am, back home, trying to mold my thoughts and ideas into reality, while at the same time, staying true to my vision for the future. I appreciate the  Educon weekend,  and I love being able to support SLA, but more importantly, I appreciate the face to face time I get to spend having conversations with colleagues from around the globe, including those in my own backyard, who inspire me and at the same time keep me grounded in reality.

under: Learning

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